According to the United Nations the world discards about 300 million tons of plastic per year. If nothing is done, by 2050 we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean. What’s more, today we already have more plastic particles in the ocean than stars in the sky. These justifications seem enough to understand why consuming and discarding so much plastic is a huge problem, isn’t it?
However, there are still other problems: to produce plastic, a lot of energy and water is used, gases are released into the atmosphere, there is the extraction of oil, solid residues are difficult to treat… Anyway, why do we still use so much plastic? The answer is that they are everywhere, and it is very difficult to escape them. So, let’s understand how they affect the environment, why it is so difficult to recycle and what we can do to reduce our consumption!
HOW DOES PLASTIC AFFECT THE ENVIRONMENT?
Plastic takes about 400 years to decompose in the environmentafter all, it is extremely resistant to bacteria and fungi. For this reason, it has a large volume of “loose” plastic out there that occasionally reaches the oceans and, unfortunately, is mistaken for food by animals. What results in those sad pictures of turtles and fish in a very sad situation.
Even worse, plastic (as we know from glitter) is capable of turning into micro particles, which facilitates your travel around the world, reaching water reserves and impossibility of withdrawal and recycling.
BUT, ISN’T JUST THE PEOPLE SEPARATING AND RECYCLING?
The problem regarding recycling is very extensive and complex. There are many factors involved: education, culture, economy and industry priorities. Not all plastic can be recycled and when it does it loses its malleability value etc. And it ends up becoming cheaper products, like garbage bags, for example.
There is also a problem regarding collection, which is done almost entirely by manual scavengers. AND only 9% of the plastic waste generated was recycled and 14% collected. Brazil recycles a little more than the rest of the world, but not so much. Still, it is the 4th country that consumes the most plastic in the world. We need to act, right?
AND WHAT CAN WE DO, THEN?
SUPERMARKET BAGS AND REUSABLE SHOPPING
One of the first and easiest points of all is to stop using the plastic bag from the supermarket or other purchases and replace it with ecological bags and returnable. There are many versions, one more beautiful than the other, that you can still make a style 🙂
REPLACE DISPOSABLE UTENSILS
Coffee, tea, water, lunchbox, straw … All of this is part of our daily lives and we don’t even realize how much we are using garbage. So, it’s time to replace it with a reusable cup, always carry your own bottle of water, buy your own straw and avoid anything that is unnecessary.
PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS
We can’t imagine, but have you ever stopped to think how many brushes you use during the year? And swabs? Today there are many possibilities to buy them made with bamboo. They are not as expensive as it seems, there are some very affordable options.
But, practically everything we buy comes with plastic. And now? Start modifying little by little. For example, why buy a granola at the supermarket if you can make yours or buy in bulk (using a cloth bag)? By stopping buying and making your own food you avoid using too many packages. And if necessary, you can substitute returnable bags.
It is always important to know which brand we are consuming and what the products are made of. Ask, research and read everything you can before buying anything. Today there are many conscious brands that make tennis made with recycled materials, for example. Of course, they use fabric packaging that can be reused.
FOLLOW “A LIFE WITHOUT GARBAGE”
You will see that plastics are in practically everything, so it is very worthwhile to follow the @umavidaemlixo project, by @cristalmuniz, which posts almost every day a tip of what to do with each of the products we consume to avoid the production of trash and plastic.
Did you like this idea? Another big problem is our high water consumption, we wrote a post about “bonded water”That you will enjoy, click here.